Beware children of Abraham! (Lk 3:8-3:9)

“Bear fruits

Worthy of repentance!

Do not begin

To say to yourselves!

‘We have Abraham

As our ancestor!’

I tell you!

‘God is able

From these stones

To raise up children

To Abraham.

Even now,

The ax is lying

At the root of the trees.

Every tree

That does not bear

Good fruit

Is cut down

And thrown

Into the fire.’”

 

ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας· καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ· λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ.

ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται· πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται.

 

Here is the first of the sayings from the so-called Q source.  Both Matthew, chapter 3:9-10, and Luke here have the exact same wording in their presentations of John’s preaching to the people.  Instead of just the Pharisees and Sadducees, Luke has John address this to all the people coming to be baptized.  This saying emphasized deeds, rather than relying on ancestry.  They were to produce fruit that was worthy of repentance (ποιήσατε οὖν καρποὺς ἀξίους τῆς μετανοίας).  They had to perform good deeds.  They should not presume that because they have had Abraham as their father, as the privileged chosen ones (καὶ μὴ ἄρξησθε λέγειν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν Ἀβραάμ), that all would go well for them.  Then John pointedly said to them (λέγω γὰρ ὑμῖν) that God had the power (ὅτι δύναται ὁ Θεὸς) to change stones and rocks into the children of Abraham (ἐκ τῶν λίθων τούτων ἐγεῖραι τέκνα τῷ Ἀβραάμ), a Hebrew play on words that was translated into Greek.  The axe was already lying at the foot of the trees, ready to go to work (ἤδη δὲ καὶ ἡ ἀξίνη πρὸς τὴν ῥίζαν τῶν δένδρων κεῖται).  Every tree that was not bearing or producing good fruit would be cut down (πᾶν οὖν δένδρον μὴ ποιοῦν καρπὸν καλὸν ἐκκόπτεται).  Then they would be thrown into the fire (καὶ εἰς πῦρ βάλλεται).

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The sign (Lk 2:12-2:12)

“This this will be

A sign

For you.

You will find

A child

Wrapped in

Bands

Of swaddling cloth,

Lying in a manger.”

 

καὶ τοῦτο ὑμῖν σημεῖον, εὑρήσετε βρέφος ἐσπαργανωμένον καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ.

 

Luke said that the angel told the shepherds that there would be a sign for them (καὶ τοῦτο ὑμῖν σημεῖον) in order to find this baby child (εὑρήσετε βρέφος) that would be a Savior, Messiah, Christ, and Lord.  This baby child would be wrapped in bands of swaddling cloth (ἐσπαργανωμένον), lying in a manger (καὶ κείμενον ἐν φάτνῃ).  Instead of the sign of a star, as in Matthew, chapter 2:2, they were told about a place with a manger.  These shepherds did not bring any gifts with them, unlike the Magi with their gold, frankincense, and myrrh in Matthew, chapter 2:11.

Jesus cures her daughter (Mk 7:29-7:30)

“Jesus said to her.

‘For saying that,

You may go!

The demon

Has left your daughter.’

Thus,

She went home.

She found her child

Lying in bed.

The demon was gone.”

 

καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Διὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ὕπαγε, ἐξελήλυθεν ἐκ τῆς θυγατρός σου τὸ δαιμόνιον.

καὶ ἀπελθοῦσα εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς εὗρεν τὸ παιδίον βεβλημένον ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐξεληλυθός.

 

A similar response can be found in Matthew, chapter 15:28.  There was no mention of faith here as there was in MatthewMark said that Jesus answered her (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ).  Jesus said that she had by her words accepted her position as a dog under the table, so that she could go home (Διὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ὕπαγε).  Jesus said that the demon had come out of her daughter (ἐξελήλυθεν ἐκ τῆς θυγατρός σου τὸ δαιμόνιον).  Thus, she then went away from Jesus to her home (καὶ ἀπελθοῦσα εἰς τὸν οἶκον αὐτῆς).  There she found that her child was lying in bed (εὗρεν τὸ παιδίον βεβλημένον ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην), but the demon was gone or expelled from her (καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐξεληλυθός).  Despite the reluctance of Jesus to go outside of the Israelites, this Canaanite woman persuaded him to cure her daughter of her demonic illness.  Jesus cured her child without touching her or being in her presence.

 

They open the roof for the paralytic (Mk 2:4-2:4)

“They were not able

To bring him

To Jesus

Because of the crowd.

Thus,

They removed

The roof above him.

After having dug

Through it,

They let down

The paralytic

With the pallet mat

On which

He was lying.”

 

καὶ μὴ δυνάμενοι προσενέγκαι αὐτῷ διὰ τὸν ὄχλον ἀπεστέγασαν τὴν στέγην ὅπου ἦν, καὶ ἐξορύξαντες χαλῶσι τὸν κράβαττον ὅπου ὁ παραλυτικὸς κατέκειτο.

 

Matthew, chapter 9:2, had no mention of this roof opening.  Luke, chapter 5:19, on the other hand, has the same story as Mark here.  Mark said that they were not able to bring this paralytic to Jesus (καὶ μὴ δυνάμενοι προσενέγκαι αὐτῷ) because of the crowd there (διὰ τὸν ὄχλον).  Thus, they removed the roof of this house (ἀπεστέγασαν τὴν στέγην ὅπου ἦν).  They dug through or gouged out a hole in the roof (καὶ ἐξορύξαντες), so that they let down the paralyzed man lying on the pallet mat (χαλῶσι τὸν κράβαττον ὅπου ὁ παραλυτικὸς κατέκειτο), through the hole in the roof.  This large crowd of people would have this paralyzed man on a bed come through the roof in the middle of the house.  What a sight!

The sick mother-in-law of Simon (Mk 1:30-1:30)

“Simon’s mother-in-law

Was lying sick

In bed

With a fever.

They told Jesus

About her at once.”

 

ἡ δὲ πενθερὰ Σίμωνος κατέκειτο πυρέσσουσα, καὶ εὐθὺς λέγουσιν αὐτῷ περὶ αὐτῆς.

 

Matthew, chapter 8:14, and Luke, chapter 4:38, have something similar.  Mark said that Simon’s mother-in-law (ἡ δὲ πενθερὰ Σίμωνος) was lying sick in bed with a fever (κατέκειτο πυρέσσουσα).  They, the people in the house, immediately told Jesus about her (καὶ εὐθὺς λέγουσιν αὐτῷ περὶ αὐτῆς).  No one explained why Peter’s mother-in-law was living in this house.  Was this a permanent arrangement?  There were no indications of where Simon’s wife was, even if she was there.  Matthew said that Jesus saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed sick with a fever, so that no one had to tell him about it.  He saw it himself.  In Luke, they asked Jesus about her.  In all three gospel stories she was sick with a fever, lying in bed.  There is no indication of what kind of illness this was or whether it was chronic or severe.

The paralytic (Mt 9:2-9:2)

“Then some people

Were carrying

A paralyzed man,

Lying on a bed.

When Jesus saw

Their faith,

He said

To the paralytic.

‘Take heart!

My son!

Your sins are forgiven!’”

 

Καὶ ἰδοὺ προσέφερον αὐτῷ παραλυτικὸν ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον. καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν εἶπεν τῷ παραλυτικῷ Θάρσει, τέκνον, ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 2:2-5, and Luke, chapter 5:18-20, about curing this paralytic.  In both Mark and Luke, they lower the paralytic through the roof of the house, but here there is no mention of that.  Some people brought this paralyzed man to Jesus (Καὶ ἰδοὺ προσέφερον αὐτῷ), since he was lying on a bed (παραλυτικὸν ἐπὶ κλίνης βεβλημένον).  Jesus noticed them and their faith (καὶ ἰδὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν).  He then told the paralytic (εἶπεν τῷ παραλυτικῷ) to take heart or have courage (Θάρσει), because his sins were forgiven or taken away (ἀφίενταί σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι).  The idea that sickness and sin had a common connection was prevalent.  In fact, Jesus called this paralyzed man son (τέκνον).  Faith and healing seemed to go hand in hand.

The paralyzed servant (Mt 8:6-8:7)

“The centurion said to Jesus.

‘Lord!

My servant

Is lying at home,

Paralyzed,

In terrible distress.’

Jesus said to him,

‘I will come,

I will cure him.’”

 

καὶ λέγων Κύριε, ὁ παῖς μου βέβληται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ παραλυτικός, δεινῶς βασανιζόμενος

λέγει αὐτῷ Ἐγὼ ἐλθὼν θεραπεύσω αὐτόν

 

This story about the sick servant of the centurion can be found in Luke, chapter 7:1-10, where there is a more elaborate story.  Meanwhile John, chapter 4:46-54, has the sick person as the son of the centurion and not his slave or servant.  This Roman centurion called Jesus “Lord,” (καὶ λέγων Κύριε) an honorific title.  He said that one of his young servants or slaves was at his home paralyzed (ὁ παῖς μου βέβληται ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ παραλυτικός) and in a great deal of trouble or torment (δεινῶς βασανιζόμενος).  Jesus then responded to him (λέγει αὐτῷ) that he would come (Ἐγὼ ἐλθὼν) and treat, cure, or heal him (θεραπεύσω αὐτόν).  Jesus was willing to heal this paralyzed young man.